If you have reserved a car and the company does not have a car available for you when you arrive, the company must do everything it can to find you a comparable car. If the only thing available among the company's fleet is a more expensive car, then you are entitled to that car, but you do not have to pay the higher rate. If no other car is available at the rental car company, and you are forced to rent from another company or to find alternative forms of transportation, you should be reimbursed by the original car rental company.
Can the Rental Company Refuse to Rent a Car to Me?
Nearly all rental car companies can and will refuse to rent to certain people, including:
- Drivers without credit or debit cards: Most rental car companies require a major credit card or debit card as a deposit when you rent a car
- Young drivers under the age of 21: Sometimes, car rental companies will refuse to rent to drivers under the age of 25; others may charge extra for renting to a younger driver
- Drivers with bad driving records: Most rental car companies will refuse to rent a car to bad drivers, especially those with serious offenses, such as drunk driving, on their record
What Additional Fees Can I Expect When I Rent a Car?
In addition to the daily rental fee, rental car companies charge many other special fees. These include, but are not limited to:
- Additional driver fees
- Young driver fees
- Vehicle drop-off fees for dropping the car off at a location different from where the car was rented
- Refueling charges if the driver does not return the car with a full tank of gas
The car rental company is required to inform you of these additional fees before you sign the rental agreement.
Should I Purchase Rental Car Insurance?
If you are an insured driver, then most likely you do not need to purchase additional insurance from the car rental agency. Check to see if your car rental is insured under any of the following:
- Personal car insurance
- Personal home insurance
- Personal credits cards
- Employer's car insurance, if you are renting the car for business purposes
- Automobile club membership, such as AAA
The insurance offered by car rental companies often have too many loopholes to offer a driver adequate additional protection. Drivers have often found that they are liable for certain damages even though they have purchased the car rental company's insurance.
Do I Need an Attorney for my Rental Car Problem?
If you have been in an accident involving a rental car, or if you otherwise have a dispute with a rental car company, consult a lawyer. An experienced products and services attorney can advise you of your rights and let you know what possible courses of action you can take along with what defenses you might have if you are sued.